Do you want to improve your Spanish conversation without signing up for an extra course? This is becoming an increasingly popular choice thanks to the popularity of the language exchange programmes available in Madrid. The idea is fairly simple: a group of people from the most diverse countries gather in a room –usually located in a bar- and, while having some coffees or beers, they speak about subjects they find especially amusing or interesting to learn about.
The first advantage of this method is its flexibility, as long as the participants are the ones who decide how to focus the chat; the second is that these exchanges are free, so you will only have to pay for what you consume; and the third is the opportunity it offers to meet people from different nationalities and to get to know their culture. In short, it’s a great chance to complement your Spanish classes with some conversation in a relaxed atmosphere.
Given that the variety of groups and conversation exchange options in Madrid is almost inexhaustible, we are going to suggest only a few of the more tempting ones and leave it to you to share experiences or mention some places you enjoy which aren’t in this list. And we also want to remind you that International House Madrid organizes weekly language exchanges in Alonso Martínez. Here we go:
- Beer Station: Its name says everything; beer lies at the heart of this place, which has been decorated to make it look like an old train station. Furthermore, here you can also enjoy monologues, concerts and improvisational shows. C/ Cuesta de Santo Domingo, 22 <M> Santo Domingo
-J & J Books and Coffee: Founded by an American who lives in Madrid, this place offers not only language exchanges but also a second hand bookstore, with thousands of titles available. You can leaf through them while there, and also bring your own books to make an exchange. C/ Espíritu Santo, 47 <M> Noviciado
-O’Neill’s:, the name brings to mind an Irish pub and that’s what it is; every Tuesday you can enjoy conversation exchanges from 22:00. This pub is also noteworthy because of the beer they serve and due to the screening of sport events. C/ Príncipe, 12 <M> Sol
-Carmencita Bar: A pretty Spanish name, right? Thiscosy/quirky bar programs language meetings every Tuesday from 21:00. Cocktails, tapas and, of course, lots of people from different countries who gather here to learn languages. C/ San Vicente Ferrer, 5 <M> Noviciado
-Olé Lola: Again, its name sounds more Spanish than a paella, although every Tuesday from 20:00 its name is changed to “Hello Lola”. This “tasca & chill” offers an original mix of vintage and modern decoration, Spanish tradition and cosmopolitan life, resulting in a very nice kitsch atmosphere, ideal for enjoying some tapa tasting, a free gig and the foreign language conversation you are looking for. C/ San Mateo, 28 <M> Tribunal
-El Parnasillo del Príncipe: A very traditional bar, truly representative of the XIX century Madrid, which witnessed the meetings of famous writers and poets of that time. A few years ago it was converted into an Irish pub, but its charming decoration remains intact. You can enjoy language meetings every Monday from 22:00. C/ Príncipe, 33 <M> Antón Martín y Tirso de Molina.